Even now words fail me

You may be wondering why I am writing this post so late.  So long after.  I’ve been a Phillies fan for over a year now and a Reds for just one short season.  I’ve been to Phillies games and I’ve posted about the excitement and the energy of being at a game and watching my team win.  I usually can’t wait to talk about it.

Last night’s experience watching the Reds take the NL Central Championship is like nothing I can really describe.  This is the main reason I didn’t do more than post pictures thus far.  I had to have almost a full 24 hours to wrap my head around the experience before I could truly get down what last night was like.

If you’ve been around this blog or over at Blogging Mama, you know I love baseball.  I love every bit and part and fact and even all the incessant stats that go along with it.  Baseball is a religion.  I’m not the person who originally wrote that but I believe it with all my heart.

Just like I believe the Reds can do anything. 

The game started pretty much like most others for me.  I arrived early (actually later than my usual, about six o’clock.)  I wandered into the stadium and right away I felt it.  The Magic was on the tip of everyone’s fingers.  No one really dared to say the words out loud, Division Champions, to do so would jinx the entire thing.  Baseball and it’s fans are nothing if not superstitious.

I made my way to the designated Moon Deck where I had planned to be a part of the Reds Tweet Up event (more info here).  I sat watching the players warm up, the fans start to trickle in and that feeling of anxiety started.  What if I witnessed something spectacular tonight?  What if Reds fans finally got to see their team walk off as a victor?

That pulsing energy never really left and it only grew as the grounds crew finished their preparations and the players were announced.  I found myself sitting next to several lovely ladies, and we chatted idly about the Reds.  They were both longtime fans, I was the newbie.  It didn’t matter much; we were all excited and slightly nervous for what was to come.

I have to pause because I can’t recall the words I want to use to describe the actual game.  It was tough and a battle from the get-go.  When Drew Stubbs (a player who deserves so much recognition in my eyes) made that heart stopping catch; I was right there, mere twenty feet away, if that.  The crowd, myself included, went absolutely wild.  We were celebrating not only a spectacular catch, but a moment that had Magic written all over it.  If that ball had had a little more to it, maybe I wouldn’t be writing this today.  Maybe I would still be writing about the hopeful win of the Reds.

The fans are amazing.  Just as they grumble and gripe, those around me truly believed in the Magic of the Reds.  Listening to the group of men behind me heckling, nothing made me smile more.

Almost nothing.

With the Reds down a run, then tied, everyone was on their feet screaming and yelling; I don’t know if my voice or my hands have recovered from all of that yet.   I don’t even know if I truly can see Bruce stepping to the plate, it’s all so jumbled up in a blurry vision of…if I had to say anything it would be pride.  I’m proud of the way the Reds battled for a good pitch staying alive and working so hard to get not only themselves but also their fans what they deserved; a Championship Title.

When that ball just kept going and going, myself like everyone around me and everyone in the stadium went crazy.  Jumping. Screaming. Hugging. Absolute and total elation lifted the crowd as the fireworks went off and the Reds converged on the field in triumph.  I can’t even write those words without getting chills.

It was such a moment in my early love of baseball, that I don’t think I will ever forget it.  I’ll be telling my children about it for years.  The celebration on the field went on long after I, reluctantly, had to leave for home.  I wish I could have stayed.  But I took that elated and energized feeling home with me and carried it long into the wee hours of the morning unable to sleep.  Even today, I’m sitting in awe unable to process what I had the honor of being able to witness.

For me it was, and has, been an honor to share in the Reds 2010 season.  I am a fan.  And I believe in Magic.

Originally published at The (Virgin’s) Guide To Baseball

Why I love Baseball

As some of you might have noticed, I’ve become a HUGE baseball fan of late.  Actually it started when we still lived in Germany.  Last year before and including the run-up to the World Series (when yes, I not only was living in Philly but considered myself a #1 Phillies fan) I started loving baseball.

Citizens Bank Ballpark, Philadelphia

Now that I live outside Cincinnati, I was content to watch Reds games and still be a Phillies fan.  I even wore my Phillies hat to not only the Phillies/Reds game June 30 but to a regular Reds game (they were playing the lowly Pirates.)

Last week things changed.  As CP and Thor have commented

I’ve gone to the dark side.

That is, I rooted against the Phillies for the Reds/Phillies series in Philadelphia last Friday-Sunday.  The Reds admittedly got swept four games to none.  That was seriously hard to take as I sat (as the only member) on the Reds side of the couch with my hat while my family all sat on the other side of the couch, the Phillies side.

Thor did not let me live down a single second of the Phillies four wins. In fact, the kid needs a little lesson on sportsmanship if you want my opinion about the whole thing.

Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati

I like baseball.  Even though I never watched a single game on TV that I can remember growing up (my dad liked football – which I despise.)  I went to a few minor league Spokane Indians games as a child.  But baseball was neither here nor there for me.  I had a take it or leave it attitude.  Until a few years ago.

I started enjoying going to a few games when we visited the US.  I got wrapped up in the excitement of the crowd (there is no crowd like a Phillies crowd).  Then I started looking online for the update on the score and listened via the Ramstein Air Base radio station in Germany.  When we moved back to Philly last July, I actually started watching games.  And not just watching games but actually enjoying them.  I even went so far as to be superstitious about the playoffs believing that if they won one night, I would have to do the exact same thing the next night to ensure that they won again.

Baseball is insane that way.

Joey Votto

Since we moved to Cincinnati, Great American Ballpark is twenty minutes away.  Tickets are cheap compared to Philly because for whatever reason, no one here cares about the first place Reds.  I have no idea why.  They have a great team (did I mention they’re in first place in their division?)  They have four players headed to the All-Star Game Tuesday (Rolen, Phillips, Rhodes, Votto).  They have an amazing pitching bullpen (Hello? Did anyone see Wood’s almost perfect game the other night?)

They are winning.  And yet no one here seems to care.  But I do.

GABP

I love baseball.  I love watching baseball.  It’s true you can see better on tv, food and drink is free and the seats are more comfortable but there’s just something about going to the ballpark that doesn’t top that.  Nope, I’ll take sitting in a hard plastic seat, under the glare of a hot sun, surrounded by people hawking concessions for everything from beer to cotton candy to ices.

Gratuitous shot of Votto’s butt

Give me the ballpark.  The crowd.  The sound of the crack against the bat.  The chance to stand up and scream as Votto hits another impressive home run.  Baseball is where it’s at for me.

Where do you like to spend your time?  Do you have something you’re passionate about?